Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair PAR 108, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991
The 2007 North American James Joyce Conference
Honoring Professor Thomas F. Staley
Posted: October 29, 2007
This past June the Department of English of the University of Texas at Austin hosted the 2007 North American James Joyce Conference, a biennial scholarly event endorsed by the International James Joyce Foundation. Major campus supporters of “Joyce in Austin,” as the conference was called, included the College of Liberal Arts, the Harry Ransom Center, and the University Co-op. A major focus of the conference was to honor Professor Thomas F. Staley, Director of the Harry Ransom Center, for his lifetime contributions to Joyce studies.
Over two hundred Joyce scholars and enthusiasts took over much of UT’s Student Union for four days to present the results of their latest research and to attend lectures, panel discussions, a Joycean exhibition and films, and a staged reading of Tom Stoppard’s Travesties, which features Joyce as a character. During the evenings, the visitors explored Austin, including the Sixth Street entertainment district and the Broken Spoke nightclub. Other social events included a gospel brunch at Stubb’s Bar-B-Que and a cruise on Town Lake, during which the scholars enjoyed live Celtic music, a barbecue supper, and Austin’s famous bats. The festive banquet on the last night of the conference featured live music taken from Joyce’s works, a performance by Irish “mummers,” and Irish Step Dancers.
Judging by the dozens of congratulatory letters received after the conference by its organizers—Professors Alan Friedman and Chuck Rossman— the event was quite a success. Participants wrote to express their appreciation not only for the conference itself, but also for the University of Texas and the city of Austin. Collections of conference proceedings are being edited by the organizers.